How do you find the best time to be most productive with your writing? I talk about that in this video.
You might also like:
Day 1: Let’s talk about your why.
Day 2: Why this book?
Day 3: Busting writer’s block
Day 5: Setting goals and celebrating achievements
Good morning, everyone, welcome to day three of boot camp. Once again, I’m in my car, but I’m in a different parking lot today, so we’ll, you know, change it up a little bit. I wanted to talk to you today about finding our best writing time. Monday, we talked about our why. Why do we write? Tuesday, we talked about our premise: why this particular book? What’s the lesson in that particular book?
And so today I want to kind of get down to the nitty gritty, and that is finding when you are your most productive. You know, most of us don’t have unlimited time to write. We have certain times of the day, certain hours we can grab here and there. And so we may not have a lot of flexibility of when we can write. But it’s really important if you can find the time where you write the best, you can be most productive in that time so you can make the best use of that time. I’m a morning person. I write best in the morning. If I have to write in the evening. It’s like slogging through mud and it’s just very, very difficult.
So I work really hard to arrange my schedule so I have writing time in the morning and do my other editing and publishing services stuff in the afternoon for the most part, so I can have my mornings, my best time. It doesn’t always work out, but I do try to have that.
And one of the best ways to kind of figure this out is, you know, you may intrinsically have an idea of where your best writing time is if you’re more of a morning person or more of a night person.But you might also have some other times that that surprise you. So one of the best ways is to just take make a record of your writing time. It can be as fancy as a spreadsheet or it can just be a notebook, you know, however you’re wired, whatever floats your boat. But I would just simply write down for, you know, at least maybe a week or so, track your time, write down the time that you were writing, you know, the day, the time period, you know, like eleven thirty to twelve thirty, whatever. And if you can write then the number of words that you wrote in that time period and maybe just a little note about how it felt or what you were working on or something like that, and just look at that throughout.
By the time you get to the end of the week and see where did you write the most? Was it the morning? Was it the afternoon? If you normally kind of have a pretty regular writing schedule, that’s great. You might throw in an extra writing time or two if you can, just out of curiosity, to see if you can also be as productive in another time as just a fun experiment.
Because the thing is, writing is like any other habit that you’re trying to build. A fabulous book on the subject is Atomic Habits by James Clear. I have been recommending this book for a long time. I think this whole past year I’ve mentioned it and in my membership group we are discussing it. I think we’re still in Chapter one because you know how things happen. But it’s been really, really interesting. And he he talks about there’s just a number of things that contribute to developing a good habit. And it has to do with wiring and how your brain is wired to respond to certain things over time. The thing is, once you have a habit established, it really helps with the amount of motivation you need and the amount of resistance that you encounter.
Writing becomes easier when the same time every day. Oh, good. You got it. Yeah. When writing becomes easier when it’s a regular routine. So if you normally sit down at your desk to write it or the couch or wherever you are at nine o’clock in the morning, if your brain is expecting to do that, then when it gets to be about that time, you feel kind of itchy, you know, or like just to be doing something. What does that say? Oh, yeah, I’m supposed to be writing. So when you have that, then it’s it becomes routine. You don’t have to debate. Should I write? Should I not write? Do I have time to write? You know, your body is already primed and ready to go.
Another book that’s also on the same subject is Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art. And he talks about a thing called resistance. And the thing with resistance is it’s everything that keeps you from doing your art. And it’s, you know, he goes into a great deal about it. But resistance is a real thing. And, you know, it’s the thing that shows up when I don’t know what to write and I’m tired and I don’t really want to focus getting into that deep work zone that writing requires. It does take some effort, it does require your brain to burn some glucose, and so resistance is a real thing, but the one of the best ways to overcome that is by developing a habit. And so if you have the habit of doing that, then the resistance is easier to overcome and it’s less of an issue.
So today, I would love it if you know what you’re good writing times are, you know, jot that down. I told you guys I was a morning person for the most part. I will say, though, there was one year during NaNoWriMo where I was working on a different project and I only had time to get to it in the evening. And so I would sit in my comfy chair and I think I was researching a new book or something like that. Anyway, I would sit in my comfy chair and I bring my iPad out so it didn’t feel like regular writing and I would just tell myself, you can just play, right? Just have fun with this. Don’t worry about it. It’s just for Nano, you know, it’s all just prep work for another book. And I was shocked at how much I actually got done.
I didn’t I did not think I would get done. It was not as good as my morning word count, but it was still a somewhat decent word count. I was really surprised by that.
So if you know what you’re good writing time is, go ahead and put that down in the comments today, but also be willing to explore. And if you want to comment, hey, I think I might try an afternoon writing session or I might try an evening one just to see what happens and see if you can find some other things.
But the other thing is really at the beginning of the week, if you can look at your schedule or your calendar and really mark off those writing times, make that commitment to yourself, this is one of the best things you can do to overcome resistance is to tell yourself, OK, this is important to me, I’m going to spend some time on here. So I’m going to mark this time off and dedicate it to writing. So that’s the other thing.
So your best writing time and have you been able to mark some time off on your week? And, you know, we all know life gets in the way. It may not be able to be every morning at nine o’clock. I can’t do every morning at nine o’clock. And I have a lot of control over my schedule. But the days that I can’t make a nine o’clock writing time, I schedule it, I get I get some afternoon writing time and sometimes I, I will do a Saturday morning writing time because I didn’t get it in another time.
So I will tell you right now, my brain does feel a little bit itchy. It feels like it should be writing right now. But I’ve got a meeting to go to. So this is not a time I get to write. But it’s really, I think, helpful to have those established times to really help your brain be primed and ready to go. When your brain knows that it’s writing time, it’s going to be ready to go when you’re sitting down at the screen or in front of the blank page.
And tomorrow we’re going to talk about how to beat writer’s block. And this is one of the things that does help, because if your brain is ready to go, it’s like, oh, this is writing time. It’s it’s ready. It doesn’t have as long of a boot up period, you know, to get into that mode because it feels like it should be in that mode. So find some ways that you can help reinforce that commitment to writing through a regular writing time and commit to it on the calendar.
I look forward to reading your comments. Thank you guys so much for participating this week. It’s been really fun for me to see the participation and the people that are commenting and and sharing things about their story and their writing journey. And I just love hearing about that. It’s so exciting for me. So I will see you here tomorrow. I’ll be in a different parking lot tomorrow. So, you know, I suppose I could show you every morning wherever wherever parking lot I’m in.
Yeah, maybe next bootcamp. I’ll do that. So anyways, have a wonderful day. I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say in the comments. And I’ll see you tomorrow. All right. Bye bye.